Spell for the Gleaning of Water

Neile Graham

The green introduction. When the drop from nowhere
blesses you. When the mist clings to your jacket,
veiling your skin. When the downpour spills from the roof,
your hat's brim, through your holey umbrella. Drips
from the tips of your hair. This green knows your name.
Drops speak you. Cut yourself and you will rain chill blood.
Bleed chill rain.

The green has you now. Lively fingers trace your skull, your nose,
pressing earlobes, lips, chin, stroking, so cat-like you cannot
help but stretch into its hand. It's then you know you've already
surrendered. Strip the jacket, the shirt, those layers of cloth, cold
from the rain, warm from your flesh. Gone. The green is a blanket
beading, gently beating your skin. The rain's breath yours.
Your breath the rain's.

Who knew such cold could ignite you, waking flesh
you never knew was asleep? Your nerves light as those not-
hands cup every curve of you, not-fingers torrent the length
each crevice, pool and cascade from your hollows
until all are filled, fuller than full, they're enchanted alive
by rain icy as fire. Fire icy as rain. You harvest the rain.
The rain harvests you.

Neile Graham, a graduate of Clarion West Writers Workshop, is now their workshop director. Her poetry has appeared in one CD and three print collections, and individual poems have appeared in many print and online publications. To find more of her work, see ​sff.net/people/neile/pub.